Lloyd Hat Trick, Dunn goal propel USWNT past Haiti

Crystal Dunn keeping the ball away from Haitian defenders. (Photo: US Soccer)

By MC Bousquette

Despite a valiant effort from the Haitian Women’s National Team, the USWNT came out on top 5-0 in front of a crowd of 34, 358 at Ford Field in Detroit, MI.

A hat trick from Carli Lloyd as well as goals from Christen Press and Crystal Dunn led the USWNT to victory. Dunn was the only player on the roster who was not with the USWNT in the World Cup, but her inclusion in tonight’s squad is a sign that Head Coach Jill Ellis is eyeing her for inclusion in the 2016 Olympics roster. Her goal and two assists tonight should certainly help her case.

The USWNT Starting XI v. Haiti (Credit: US Soccer)

The USWNT Starting XI v. Haiti (Credit: US Soccer)

The USWNT came out firing in the first half with the first chance of the match came in only the 2nd minute. Julie Johnston headed a free kick from Tobin Heath wide of goal. Despite the miss, the US was back a few minutes later, as Lloyd found a cross from Dunn perfectly on frame to put the US up 1-0 in the 6th minute. This marked Lloyd’s 72nd career international goal.

The US continued its frenetic assault on goal, with multiple dangerous efforts from Press, and one from Kelley O’Hara, which forced Haitian goalkeeper Edny Limage into a diving save in the 28th minute. Press returned a handful of minutes later, clearing the goal just high of the crossbar. Her efforts finally paid off to bring the US a 2-0 lead for her 25th career international goal in the 33rd minute, off another cross from Dunn.

Press didn’t stop there. She went hard into the box, but was brought down and awarded a penalty. Lloyd, naturally, took the penalty, and brought US’ advantage to 3-0. In a final stab at net to end the first half, Dunn surged in deep and right to the box but her shot nailed the crossbar.

After a half filled with near-misses, the United States led Haiti 3-0. Ellis switched up her side, bringing Ashlyn Harris in for Hope SoloAli Krieger for Kelley O’Hara, and Lauren Holiday for Morgan Brian.

The US came out strong, continuing the offensive pressure as Heath sent a ball across to Dunn, but the Haitian defenders cleared it. Krieger penetrated the box moments later, transitioning to Dunn and eventually to Lloyd, but Lloyd hit the crossbar to narrowly avoid completing a hat trick.

Alex Morgan had her first clear opportunity of the half in the 50th, but Limage cleared the ball off her feet to stop the attack. Johnston came in strong, hammering a shot to the right corner from yards above the top of the box, forcing Limage into another diving save in the 53rd minute.

As the half wore on, the US maintained the attack on Haiti, but continued to look slightly uncoordinated as they missed numerous chances. Ellis made three more substitutions in the 63rd minute, as Abby Wambach entered the game for the generally quiet Morgan, Christie Rampone for Heath, and Heather O’Reilly for Press.

The game paused for several minutes shortly thereafter, as a collision between Limage and Wambach left Limage on the ground for an extended period before getting up.

As play resumed, Dunn sent a fantastic cross in to Krieger in the 68th minute, but Krieger’s header ended in Limage’s hands. Holiday took the resultant corner, in which a perfect ball reached Lloyd’s head to complete Lloyd’s hat trick in the 69th minute.

O’Reilly charged into the box in the 73rd minute, but her efforts were thwarted by Haitian defenders as the ball was forced out for a corner. The US kept up the pace, but numerous effort ended with missed opportunities from Wambach. In the 85th, O’Reilly took the ball back in, but was stopped yet again by Limage.

The USWNT kept up pressure, and moments before the final whistle, a cross from O’Reilly found Dunn. Dunn connected solidly with her head, and recorded her first career international goal to bring the US to a final score of 5-0.

The USWNT faces Haiti again this Sunday, September 20th at 230pm EST at Legion Field in Birmingham, AL (ESPN2, WatchESPN).